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West Virginia Legislature prioritizing industry over state’s short-staffed gas and oil well inspection unit so far this session

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lawmakers got a direct entreaty from the head of the state Department of Environmental Protection last week to shore up the agency’s funding for gas and oil well inspectors.

“I can’t stress the importance I think this means for the state of West Virginia or the oil and gas program,” DEP Secretary Harold Ward told a panel of state legislators last week.

Ward was telling the House Finance Committee about his hope that lawmakers pass legislation instituting a permit fee that adds $2.1 million in revenue for his agency to address a funding shortfall for the DEP Office of Oil and Gas.

The Office of Oil and Gas is charged with monitoring the exploration, drilling, storage and production of natural gas and oil in West Virginia. The office manages the state’s abandoned well-plugging and reclamation program and is charged with making sure surface and groundwater are protected from gas and oil operations…

To read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/legislative_session/wv-legislature-prioritizing-industry-over-states-short-staffed-gas-and-oil-well-inspection-unit-so/article_574b6882-af28-5934-aff8-e25eefde0937.html

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